Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trump and Comey and Sessions OH MY!

Watching this soap opera unfold in the Senate is an absolute joke. Basically everyone says everyone else is lying. Of course Trump can't make up his mind whether Comey "vindicated" him or told terrible lies about him.

Sessions say the whole Russian collusion idea is a lie. Well, Jeff baby, it's only a lie if the person making the accusation knows it's a lie.

What to make of this he said, he said, he said fiasco?

It's generally been my experience that people lie when either they (a) can gain something from the lie or (b) they need to protect themselves. I think we can pretty much exclude the altruistic white lie from the conversation.

The guy that appears to have the least to gain or protect is Comey. That doesn't mean he isn't lying but it's not clear to me what reason he would have for opening himself up to perjury charges.

Trump isn't making his statements under oath and I'm not sure Sessions knows the difference between a lie and the truth.

So I sort of suspect that Comey is closest to being completely honest, Sessions is a distant second and Trump still trying to get out of the starting gate.

Do I think Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice in the Flynn investigation? Yes, I do. Do I think he meant to obstruct justice? No, I think he was simply doing the same sort of backroom maneuvering he's used to in the business world and didn't realize what he was doing was illegal.

Do I think the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to tilt the 2016 election to Trump? Six months ago I would have said that's ridiculous but now I'm not so sure.

So what happens if that turns out to be the case? The proper thing to do would be for Trump and Pence to resign or be impeached leaving Paul Ryan as president.

Do I think that will ever happen? Not in a million years. Even if you could come up with sufficient evidence I'm sure the Republicans would come up with some "alternate facts" to try and smooth the whole thing over.

Do I think this could lead to civil war? Probably not. I don't think enough people are ready to start killing in the streets over this.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Paris Accords on Climate

I never learn. Seriously, I never learn. I always assume that people actually understand what a thing is before deciding whether it's a good witch or a bad witch.

After going though a few comment sections on the Paris Accords it was obvious that no one, including Trump and his "advisers," had any idea what was in the agreement.

First, allow me to identify what is an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution or INDC. An INDC is the amount of emission reduction that a country VOLUNTARILY establishes as a target in order to meet the stated goals in the agreement of (1) staying below an average temperature gain of 2 degrees C or (2) staying below an average temperature gain of 1.5 degrees C.

Switzerland was the first country to submit an INDC calling for a reduction of 50% of emissions over the 2005 level by 2030.

India's INDC called for a 33%-35% reduction per unit of GDP by 2030 but warned it would need $2.5 trillion in financing to meet that goal.

China's INDC called for a 60%-65% reduction per unit of GDP by 2030.

The US INDC called for a 26%-28% reduction of green house gases over the 2005 levels by 2025.

However notice the slight problem here. Different INDCs are specifying targets in different ways.

Switzerland and the USA are specifying their targets in total reduction of green house gases (GHG). China and India are specifying their targets per unit of GDP which means their total emissions may actually increase.

Why the difference?

Because while Switzerland and the USA are "developed countries" by the United Nations definition, China and India are considered "developing countries" whose GDP per capita is still a fraction of the GDP per capita of developed countries,

So basically that's the problem that people express in different ways. I'm more than a little terrified that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt doesn't appear to have a clue as to not only the details of the Paris Accords but even as to who emits the most GHG.

Who emits the most you ask? It depends upon how you're measuring. You can measure either as total emissions or emissions per capita.

In total emissions China is first followed by the US then the European Union and then India, In terms of emissions per capita the US is larger than China and India combined but I think total emissions is the more important way to measure.

And China is a real problem. Its total emissions of 10 millions kilotons of CO2 is twice the US total of 5 million kilotons. Yet as a "developing country" China will do no more than stop the increase of CO2 per year by 2030.

The assumption is that developed countries have the technological base to do more in a shorter period of time. The Obama administration has made the right moves for the US to meet its INDC by 2025.

With Trump trying to resurrect the dead coal industry and allowing the initiatives of the Obama Administration to wither, there's not a snowball's chance in hell.

This may well turn out to be the stupidest decision ever made by a so-called President of the United States. Luckily states and cities in the US are moving forward and essentially saying fuck you Trump.

It's only a matter of time before a Trumpian pronouncement forces some of the states to refuse to implement or enforce what he's ordering. If Trump then tries to force the issue all hell will break loose.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Trump Pulls out of Paris Accords

President Trump has announced that he intends to pull out of the Paris Accords on climate.

If you needed any additional evidence that Trump in particular, and Republicans in general, care absolutely nothing for the country, the planet and the people living on the planet this should do it.

This is a pure play to the under 80 IQ trailer part set. This is beyond stupid; this borders on criminal.

The science on climate change is very clear despite what some conservative pundits try to claim. It's not that hard to understand.

By digging up fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and burning them, we have added to the carbon cycle by putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Add to that deforestation and the cutting down of rain forests, which decreases the amount of carbon dioxide being taken out of the atmosphere, and you get a slow but steady build up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This is clear from measurements.

Carbon dioxide is a hothouse gas. It tends to hold in heat. This is leading to a slow but steady rise in global temperatures. The rise in global temperatures is leading to melting icecaps, rising sea levels and shifting climate.

Everyone in the world appears to understand this except Trump. the Republicans, Syria and Nicaragua.